We know that God calls us to “Grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18). And every Christian who is walking with the Lord desires this kind of growth.
But how do we know if we are indeed growing? What are the benchmarks of growth in grace? There are many throughout God’s Word, but here are three very specific ways we know God’s grace is growing in our lives.
Grace nurtures trust in God.
Grace does not shield us from trouble, but it does give us the ability to trust God in our troubles.
The classic example of this is the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh. He pleaded with God to remove the thorn, but God instead gave him the grace to trust God with it and to embrace God’s strength through it. In the end, this grace gave Paul the ability to actually rejoice in his infirmity, because of how it allowed him to experience the power of God.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:7–9
Are you increasingly trusting God through the difficulties that come your way? If yes, then you are growing in grace.
Grace produces praise for God.
The more we grow in grace, the more our hearts are tuned to sing God’s praise.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.—Colossians 3:16
Someone once said, “God gave you about 23,000 breaths today. Have you used even one of them to praise Him?”
Do you find yourself more frequently praising God for who He is and His work in your life and in your church? If yes, then you are growing in grace.
Grace creates a desire to give to God.
It was the grace of God on the churches of Macedonia that compelled these Christians to give joyfully and sacrificially to meet the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem.
Grace is like that. It creates a desire in our hearts to meet the needs of others and to give to further the work of God.
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.—2 Corinthians 8:1–2
Do you give more generously than you used to? Has your giving increased over time? If so, you are growing in grace.
Do you remember when you were a child and wanted so much to grow taller? From day to day, you couldn’t see growth, but over a period of time, you knew it was happening.
Sometime growth in grace is like that in that we don’t see our growth immediately, but as we look back over a period of weeks or months, we see the transforming work of grace in our lives.
If you wonder if you are indeed growing in the grace of God, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I increasingly trusting God through the difficulties that come my way? Am I rejoicing in the strength He gives me through these difficulties?
- Do I praise God frequently and freely?
- Do I give more generously now than I used to? Has my giving increased over time?
If the answer to these questions is yes, rejoice in what God is doing in your life, and continue to seek and receive His grace.
If the answer to these questions is no or is uncertain, ask God to help you grow in these specific areas. Reread the passages above, meditate on them, and ask the Lord for His grace to practice these actions of grace.
Growth in grace takes time, but for the child of God yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit, it does happen over time.